Positioning Systems - Small Business Coaching



Articles > Positioning Systems Newsletter # 77 1-29-08 “Sharpen the Saw”

Seems like everyone is talking about or looking at getting a business coach. Does a coach really help and why should I consider getting one for myself or my business?

Imagine your mind is a large pin ball machine.   You know the old kind you use to see in game rooms and bars. Okay let’s agree it’s plugged in to start with, but for some of us that might be a question mark. I’ll touch on that later.

Suppose now that you go over to that machine, deposit a coin and begin to play it. The game will respond animatedly. There’ll be bells, clangs, clutters and ka-chings as you begin to maneuver the solid metal balls in an attempt to get more points. If you’re good you’ll earn lots of points and perhaps even a free game!

Your mind is very similar. Recent research has found that expressing ourselves to others lights up synapses in the brain. In fact it suggests that without these “firings” little is accomplished. The lighting up of our brain, this connection of synapses, leads to discovery, action and of course this leads to outcomes.

Putting feelings into words makes sadness and anger less intense. Where is that more valuable than in running your business? There’s no worse place to put negative emotions into action than in your business.   Who suffers when you react negatively? Your workers, your customers and most of all you. 

US brain researchers noted that talking to a therapist or even a sympathetic bartender often makes people feel better.

Verne Harnish, author of Mastering the Rockefeller Habits, and one of my coaches offers this towards the value of coaching in following recent developments with Tiger Woods:

No one has ever achieved peak performance without a coach -- the battle of the coaches -- Butch Harmon is Tiger's early coach that helps propel him to #1. Tiger then fires his coach and goes it alone, resulting in his first loss of the money title in 2004 and two years without a single major's win. Tiger then hires Hank Haney as his coach, gets back the money titles in 2005 and 2006, and wins nine of fourteen PGA tournaments. He wins the 2007 FedEx Cup Challenge, the championship trophy for the PGA Tour. 

In an interesting turn of events, Phil Michelson hires Tiger's old coach, Butch Harmon, three weeks before the Players' Cup championship (largest purse of all the tournaments, making it the informal 5th major of the season). Woods chokes (I have to think it affected Woods that Phil hired his old coach) and Michelson wins, propelling him to #2 in the world behind Woods. Tiger has since battled back, leading the current Buick Open as I write this by four strokes. 

If Tiger Woods needs a coach, shouldn’t we all feel the need to have a coach? A coach doesn’t need to be someone you necessarily pay for, although if it’s a specific area you wish to improve upon it should be a strong consideration. A coach doesn’t even need to be better than you, as pointed out even a sympathetic bartender can make you feel better. A coach should be someone that listens, points out flaws or errors in your thinking, habits or feelings and then demands you be accountable for change. 

I have 2-3 coaches who help me on a regular basis. Michael Dell [Dell Computers] has had 3-7 coaches at various times. As Verne points out no one has ever achieved peak performance without a coach. The question might be do you wish to achieve peak performance?

I recall when I first started in my career in radio sales I would meet with my Sales Manager nearly every day to review my calls. He would go over each and every call from 30-60 minutes each day. He had great patience with me and helped me to improve my ability. That was coaching.

Remember at the beginning of this message when I suggested that some of us are not even plugged in [comparing to the pinball machine].   For some, this is the dilemma. If you’ve been in business for a period of time it’s quite natural for the fire to have died out. The endless repetition, the monotony of doing the same things over and over again. Through it all you’ve lost the connection to why you started working and owning a business all together. 

We start our business development program with identifying your personal mission statement, discovering your core purpose or Primary Aim. As I noted newsletter #19 “Find Your Power Cord,” the place you need to start, if you lack energy and a sense of purpose, is to discover what it is you really want, and what turns you on. It can take a good deal of discovery to learn how to recharge your batteries. In almost every case it requires the leading and probing of a good coach. 

No matter where you are on the field of your life, a coach can help. Seek out one if you need help with your business. Forming a Master Mind group or finding a mentor is another alternative.   If you are someone who wishes to achieve, to go beyond your present limitations and live the life you’ve imagined, finding an experienced coach with the right tools and empathy can be the beginning of releasing your unlimited potential. Just ask Tiger Woods. 

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Positioning Systems helps business owners and entrepreneurs transform their business.  We provide the tools and coaching to help you take control of your business -- rather then having your business control you.